Being your own boss, whether as a traditional business owner or some kind of personal service provider or freelancer, comes down to not having a superior to report to. You are only answerable to the people you choose to do business with.
The level of autonomy and schedule flexibility you have being self-employed may vary situationally, but not having anyone above you is one thing that is guaranteed about being your own boss.
Starting a business is the ideal way to be your own boss unless you want to work as a creative or professional with specialized skills like a lawyer, writer, photographer, or programmer.
In this case, offering your services on one of the numerous online freelancing platforms out there is the best option in 2023.
But generally, having a business of your own is the epitome of being your own boss. Here are the steps you typically would have to take for starting your own business in 2023:
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Even if you don’t have a business idea yet, you probably still have a rough idea of what you want to be your own boss.
And if you don’t even have a general idea at this stage, just write down your motive behind wanting to be your own boss. It could be anything from hating your job to earning during retirement. Whatever it is, just write it down.
This will be of great help with the next step which is to come up with an idea. Because when you have a point written down in front of you, it gives you something to brainstorm around without going around in circles.
A good way to come up with a business idea is brainstorming with friends and family as they may share insights that you haven't thought of.
While brainstorming, consider your interests, skills and experience, and resources. An ideal business idea is one where all these align together naturally to solve a problem.
In addition to looking for pain points people experience in their daily lives, you should also consider prevalent or emerging trends in the industry you have in mind.
This will not only help you gauge the viability of your business idea before you have done your market research but may also lead to slight changes in the idea that ends up making all the difference.
Once you have settled on a finalized business idea, write it down in as deep detail as you can at this stage before going on to the next step. Keep developing it, adding specific details till you have got an idea that can be pitched to an investor even if you are not looking for investors.
This will help you identify potential loopholes in the idea right at the outset before you go ahead and spend a bunch of time and effort developing it.
After you have got yourself a comprehensive business idea, the next step is to make an objective and in depth-assessment of its viability.
It is this step that separates a rookie idea from a serious one. Up until this step, you are only building castles in the air, but now, it is time to test your dream against practical considerations.
This is done through a process commonly known as market research. Market research mainly includes finding out more about your to-be competitors and the needs and preferences of your to-be customers/clients by collecting and interpreting, and analyzing data.
You can analyze the competitors on your own, however, to analyze your target competitors, it is best to avail of the services of a market research agency if you can afford it.
If you decide to go with an agency, below are some things you can quiz the agency on while judging if they are worth their salt regardless of your specific industry. And if you decide to take your customer research into your hands, these points can be equally useful.
Customer research is divided into two main categories:
This is carried out to answer WHAT and HOW MUCH/MANY. For example, if your business idea is to sell hand-crafted artisan products online, this kind of research tells how many people belonging to different demographic groups actually buy them from various online platforms.
This aspect of the research answers WHY and HOW. Taking the same example, this research should give you the reasons why different people choose to buy those products from the online platforms they buy them from, enabling you to develop better marketing strategies.
For both these kinds of research, two types of data are gathered and interpreted in the light of the business idea:
For qualitative research, primary data is gathered through means such as Focus groups (groups of demographically or otherwise similar people), in-depth interviews, discussions, expert interviews, triads (friends and family), and spotlight groups (first questions are asked individually and then in a group).
For quantitative research, primary data is mainly gathered through online and offline surveys and in-person as well as telephonic interviews.
This is the data gathered from journals, magazines, academic papers, podcasts, industry reports, government data, online databases, blogs, etc on topics related to your industry.
If you have the bandwidth, you don’t have to rely on an agency to consolidate this type of data. In fact, one of the benefits of picking an industry you are anyways interested in for your business idea is that research becomes a lot easier.
For your competitor research, you can just google the product or service you plan to offer and make a list of the businesses with a similar offering. Then, you can check out their websites or even pay a visit to their physical locations.
On the internet itself, you can find new articles and blogs related to their business as well as reviews, comments, and other feedback on their social media posts.
Only after you are reasonably reassured from the research that it could work, should you bother about the specifics like name, legal structure, location, etc. unless it is a constituent part of the business idea.
It is good to have a deep-sounding explanation for the name, tagline, logo design, and so on. Don’t get self-indulgent with it and try to come up with a marketing-serving explanation for it later.
Try to come up with a name that conveys what your industry or product/service is and at the same time resonates with your important values or what sets you apart from competitors. The same goes for everything else related to branding.
And as for the legal specifications of your business, you will most likely have to avail of the services of a professional like an accountant, lawyer, or business advisor.
The common types of business structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), S corporation, and C corporation.
Each comes with its own set of pros and cons and it is important to discuss them thoroughly with respect to your business with your legal consultant before deciding on a business structure.
Since your market research suggests that your business idea is a viable one, it is safe to assume you are on the right track and start taking practical measures to make your dream a goal.
The practical part of becoming your own boss should ideally start with making a preliminary blueprint of your business.
In business terms, this blueprint is called a business plan. A business plan is a document typically consisting of no more than a couple of pages and serving at least these two purposes:
A. Giving you a reference point as you go about developing your business and helping to organize your activities in strict accordance with your business goals.
B. Giving stakeholders such as potential investors or business partners an at-a-glance overview of your business.
Of course, a business plan varies from business to business but, at this stage, your business plan should at least include the following parts:
Once you actually establish your business, you are going to have to update the business plan with sections like Background Summary, Financial projections, Management Team and Personnel, etc, but for now, the above-described sections are more than enough.
Lincoln said, if I were given the task of chopping down a tree, I would spend the nine of them sharpening my ax. So, give some serious time to refining your business plan.
Having an actual business plan in front of you can make you over-optimistic, so slow down there, you future boss!
Don’t give up your current source of income to give full-time attention to your business without a financial cushion. As they say, hope for the best but, prepare for the worst.
Starting your own business is stressful as it is, you don’t need the added stress of an empty stomach. So, before saying goodbye to your boss, try to set up a stream of passive side income for your struggling days.
Synkdup’s Headhunter Program is a truly low-responsibility way to make some side income. Most Headhunters make around $3,000 per week sharing job links online. And even with a minimalist devotion to the program, you should be able to make more than enough to get by.
You can save up the money and use it in cases of financial contingencies. Or you can even contribute your headhunting earnings to your working capital every month.
It is safest to primarily use your own savings to finance your business, and the next best option is to borrow from your friends and family who believe in your vision.
The safest way is to start doing business with a relatively smaller amount, generate revenue, and fuel your business operations and the growth of your business with that revenue.
However, if you have a capital-intensive business idea, you will need to consider alternate options. Some popular options you could consider include bank loans, government grants, venture capital, angel investor, and crowdfunding.
Most of these ways, except government grants, come with limitations and drawbacks like interest on debt or giving up equity, so, if you can, you should try to manage without resorting to any of these ways.
Once you have got your finances in order, you can now go ahead and give your business a legal existence under your chosen name. The name, of course, should be unique and not taken by any other organization already.
It includes registering your business, obtaining an employer identification number (EIN), and getting appropriate licenses and permits (if applicable). Your business advisor or lawyer should help with it, including any additional legal formalities of your particular jurisdiction or industry.
And, after all the legal formalities are completed, it is time to set up the infrastructure, put together a team, and – start the operations of your business.
Don’t look back and stick to your vision. Because, ironically enough, being your own boss involves being responsible for others. With great power comes…